Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Review
Fela Kuti’s youngest son showed that he has inherited his legendary father’s passion and anti-establishment fury as he played an incendiary set that included some Fela classics alongside some of his own yet-to-be released material.
An MC introduced the band one-by-one as they took the stage with several having played with Fela in the original Egypt 80 line-up. After a lively opener sung by the trumpet player, Seun appeared in an amazing outfit that was almost as colourful as the backing singers’.
He began with Fela’s ‘Mr Follow Follow’, its hypnotic rhythm underpinning the lyrics criticising those who blindly follow religious writings. ‘C.P.C.D.’ (Corporate Public Control Department), from the recent ‘Struggle Sounds’ EP was introduced as “the new name for government” and was a scathing attack on the politics of hate with the backing singers demanding “give me my vote back”.
Seun spent a few minutes sharing his irreverent opinions on the irrelevance of organised religions which covered all major faiths and discussed how to carry out a proper resurrection before the guitars, bass and drums set a driving beat to which he chanted Fela Kuti and the singers danced with white scarves. He prowled the stage with sweat pouring from his wispy beard as he preached that the only true struggle is class struggle and to “fuck all political parties and travel bans as they don’t have any bearing on the poor”. He really doesn’t care what people think about him but it’s clear that he does care deeply about those without a voice.
Picking up his sax for ‘African Dreams’, the slowest song of the set, he soon switches to playing some slick jazz licks on the keyboard to give his sax player a chance to solo. The singers are now wearing bikini tops when the leader removes his shirt to the delight of the women gathered at the front of the stage.
After asking why the UK had such early curfews and saying they could easily play for four hours the set ended with ‘Theory Of Goat And Yam’ which saw everyone firing on all cylinders, singing and dancing to a very happy crowd that was totally immersed in the entrancing music and charisma of this bold performer.
First on were Lakuta, who played a high-energy, super tight set featuring most of the songs from their Tru Thoughts album ‘Brothers And Sisters’. Vocalist Siggi Mwasote and hard-handed percussionist Cicely ‘Congalita’ Taylor fired the crowd up from the get-go with everyone dancing to the infectious ‘Bata Boy’ with its stabbing horns and defiant chant of “we will not stand for this”. They are undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with and were the perfect choice to open the show.
Concorde 2, Wednesday 22nd March 2017